An Arkansas judge sentenced a fallen college rodeo team member to 10 years behind bars for conspiracy to commit horse theft.
The infamous Jaci Rae Jackson was peppered with questions by Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Larry Chandler before he ordered her to serve two consecutive 5-year sentences, 400-hours community service, and just over $28,000 in restitution to her victims. He said as an adult, he couldn’t allow Jackson to “walk out of this courtroom without being punished.”
The judge asked questions regarding key events related to the theft of her rodeo teammates’ horses in November 2011. Five horses, tack, and a horse trailer were stolen from the Southern Arkansas University stable. Jackson pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy to commit theft of property in April 2013, but she didn’t have many answers for Judge Chandler. Jackson stood sobbing, unprepared to answer.
Jackson’s mother and co-defendant, Wendi Cox, went before Judge Chandler last March during her trial. Jackson testified against her mother, which the judge said led to his questions pertaining to her knowledge of the events that transpired — including rape allegations that were later found to be untrue.
Only four horses made it back to Arkansas after the theft. They were left to die in Oklahoma without food or water, and while not unscathed, they were the lucky ones. Credit Card, the sorrel roping horse, owned by Shaun Smith was killed by his captors. The gelding (pictured) was shot, his throat slit, and his body was cut into pieces so he could be moved. Smith’s father, Jay Smith, was in court for the sentencing. He also prepared a victim impact statement for the judge that was read privately.
Also in court was Coach Rusty Hays who has been a part of the on-going, emotional saga from day one. He said he’s glad its over.
Cox was sentenced by a jury to 60 years in prison. She will serve 10 years before she is eligible for parole, according to authorities. Proceedings in Oklahoma’s case against her have not began.
Co-defendant William “Billy” Hamilton was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Oklahoma after pleading guilty to a slew of charges, including animal cruelty for the death of Credit Card. He was sentenced to 30 years in Arkansas and is currently housed there.
Jackson was sentenced to 42 months and 7 years probation last week in Oklahoma.